Opinion: Kashmir is key to political reconciliation between India, Pakistan, China

Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India Updated: Feb 22, 2018, 12:47 PM(IST)

Marching together with India will bring about higher strategic dividends to both China as well as Pakistan Photograph:( Others )

As China should work towards reducing tension in the Indian Ocean Region and put pressure on Pakistan to accept India's position over Kashmir, an improved Sino-Indian relationship can only be possible if India, in response, should agree to facilitate the unhindered utilisation of Chinese-built road through Aksai Chin. The Chinese built this road to serve some very crucial logistical purposes, particularly, to connect with the Xin Jiang province, the raison de etre for the occupation of Aksai Chin in 1962. Further, India should also agree to transit facilities to China for CPEC infrastructure, passing through the Indian territory in POK.  

China needs to persuade Pakistan to see reason in revisiting their political priorities. Pakistan's Kashmir obsession has catapulted it into a political cauldron of the economic mess, governance deficit and slanderous afflictions associated with terrorism. It has been amply proved in Pakistan's case that the religion alone is not the binding force to sustain the viability of a nation-state. Pakistan needs to introspect their politico-religious concepts as they have failed to keep East Pakistan based on it and there are dissident movements continuing within Pakistan, indicating flaws in theological overreach which Pakistan propagates in Kashmir.

Moreover, looking at current US strategic interests, Russian assertiveness, and Chinese aggressiveness in the Asian landscape,  it has the potential to impact on political autonomy and security of Pakistan itself.  Reconciliation with India would bestow higher political buoyancy to absorb the negative influences of extra-regional manipulations which is a bigger threat to them as on date. Pakistani civil society and think tanks are abuzz with such fears and have been vocal in favour of an urgent need of a reality check by the ruling establishment. 

Post reconciliation, if it happens, Pakistan would no longer require strategic depth against India which has been the primary motive of their complicity in fostering insurgency in Afghanistan. As a cascading effect, it would pave the way for reconciliation amongst the warring factions of Afghanistan as Pakistan have substantial influence over Taliban and their affiliates. It will help in bringing about political stability in the Af-Pak region, leading to a gradual reduction in terrorism, a matter of grave international concern. It would also deny any excuse for extra-regional powers to meddle in their internal affairs to an extent they do it as of now.  

With security situation improving in Afghanistan, the success of CPEC would get a further boost with the participation of Central Asian Republics and Eurasian countries. Besides this, Pakistan would have much needed higher economic synergies with a friendly India and its  MFN status for trade and commerce. As a consequence, Pakistan would have fair chances to bring about their economic turnaround. It is time for Pakistan to realise that their political vibrancy is a function of regional cohesiveness and not extra-regional political surrogacy. 

The  spectre of ten ASEAN heads of states on 69th republic day of India, Quad sponsored mil exercises in Indo- Pacific, suspension  of US aid to Pakistan,  Indian  concern on illegality of CPEC alignment through POK, Chabahar port as an alternate linkage to Afghanistan and Eurasia are all links to a subtle  political message to China and Pakistan combine signaling them to revisit their priority matrix . India is central to this diplomatic push being the dominant power in IOR and South Asian landscape, hence need be taken seriously. 

Unlike Chinese self-seeking exclusivity, India has aspirations of peaceful growth including everyone as per their ancient philosophy of “Vasudeva Kutumbam”(the world is one family). The key to Chinese aspirations and Pakistani politico-economic stability lies in recognising the legally correct status of J&K as it existed at the time of accession with India, and restoring forced occupation of its territories to India. Yes, it is difficult to change the subversive political narratives propagated by both China and Pakistan for their vested interests all these years. But, given the current national interests of all parties, reconciliation is the only sensible way forward, and it is bound to happen sooner or later. Therefore, it is time to move away from the designed manipulative discourses by the Chinese as well as Pakistani leaders. 

India as an economically vibrant, militarily strong, politically mature nation with strong strategic pull is a beacon to be rallied around to bring in positive political synergies in the South Asian landscape.  Marching together with India will bring about higher strategic dividends to both China as well as Pakistan, a win-win situation for all. 

To do all these, the Chinese political tango needs a paradigm shift in the orchestration of her steps in sync with contemporary global strategic outlook and keeping in rhythm with regional compatriots to achieve their ambitions of world leadership role. The ball is in China’s court. Take it, or leave it.

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are the personal views of the author and do not reflect the views of ZMCL)

Lt Gen Rameshwar Yadav

Lt Gen Rameshwar Yadav had been Director General of Infantry, Indian Army. He has been closely associated with force structuring and modernisation of the Army
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